28 February 2006

Robert Stokely - American Hero and Gold Star Father

Remember this story about The Letter the Washington Post Won't Print?

The letter was written by Robert Stokely about his son Sgt. Mike Stokely, who was killed in Iraq last year.

David at The Thunder Run has been corresponding with Robert Stokely and has written a beautiful post today called Conversations with a Gold Star Father:

Unlike a more famous Gold Star Mother, Mr. Stokely doesn’t blame anyone for Mike’s death for he is “...firmly convinced that, if Mike were here and could look back at what happened in his life those final moments, he'd change nothing. He'd still join the GA NATL Guard as a junior in high school, go to boot camp that summer while his fellow classmates had fun and then come back for his senior year of high school.

He'd still move from a Communications job to a front line Cavalry Scout unit. He'd still go with his "guys" to Iraq even though he could have had an exemption to stay home and recruit.

He'd still take that empty seat on a Humvee as it was about to go out the wire the night he died, even though it was his squad going and he'd been on missions and duty for 30 hours, and had rested little in the last three days (since a soldier was home on leave).

He'd still volunteer to stand cover flank watching the backs of his two fellow soldiers - one his best friend - as they walked down the road to check out a suspicious location.”

David asked Mr. Stokely what Mike might think about all the attention he has gotten.

“No doubt Mike would be overwhelmed by those who speak so highly of him - probably say ‘what's the big deal?’”

What Mike might think of being no big deal is a big deal, for Mike and men and women like him embody the soul of what it is to be an American Soldier.

We think it's a big deal, too.

Do You Think We Scared Her Off??

Cindy Sheehan Backs Off Army Hospital Protest.

We'll see...

Update, 1 March: Stefan tells me this morning that Cindy's group still have their permits, including the march from the gates of Landstuhl Post to Ramstein and a camp at Ramstein, as outlined in their original announcement.

If I had to venture a guess, I would say she backed down on the plan (or was refused permission, as expected) to enter Landstuhl Post and the hospital to distribute "flowers and homemade goods".

Whether this development represents a change of heart or simple backpedaling remains to be seen.

Circles Within Circles....

Further to yesterday's story about the German BND (Intelligence Service) passing the Iraq defense plan to the U.S., David's Medienkritik has an interesting theory:

Either the German government knew about the cooperation between German and U.S. intelligence, in which case former chancellor Schroeder and foreign minister Fischer had lied to the public, or they didn't know it, which would reveal their complete cluelessness about what happened under their watch... Neither option makes them look statesmenlike.

As to the agent who provided the information about Saddam's strategy change, I have my own suspicion... Thank you, Susanne?

Following his link you'll see this at the end of the 27 January article from TCS Daily:

In light of the foregoing details, there is reason to wonder whether Osthoff’s burqa-wearing theatrics were not in fact a smokescreen put up to obscure links to Baathist circles and fellow-travelers. Evidence of what the German journalist and intelligence expert Erich Schmidt-Eenboom has recently described as “very good contacts” [partial translation here] between the German secret service, the BND, and the ousted Hussein regime makes this possibility all the more intriguing and troubling. It was the Osthoff case, and Osthoff’s admitted contacts with BND personnel, that first brought the current BND presence in Iraq to public attention.

Nice catch, David. And if we ever find out the whole story it could make one heck of a movie...

27 February 2006

Patriot Guard Riders Pass 10,000 Membership Mark

Congratulations and THANK YOU to the Patriot Guard Riders.

Bikers Guard US Military Funerals Against Protesters

(CNSNews.com) - A group of motorcycle riders who attend U.S. soldiers' funerals to protect them from anti-homosexual protestors on Saturday surpassed the 10,000-member mark.

The Patriot Guard Riders (PGR) escort families of fallen soldiers to funeral services and stand between the funeral proceedings and protestors from the Westboro Baptist Church, who picket the ceremonies with anti-American and anti-homosexuality slogans.

The Westboro Baptist Church, according to its website godhatesfags.com, believes that God uses improvised explosive devices (IEDs) in Iraq to avenge the August 1995 bombing of the church headquarters in Topeka, Kan.
( ... )
Members of Phelps' church stand outside funeral services holding signs that say, "God Hates Fags," and "God Hates the USA." They also sing songs with anti-homosexual messages.

Patriot Group Riders stand between church members and funerals, usually using American flags to obstruct the protestors' view.
( ... )
Mayer added that the group [PGR] "completely crosses all demographic boundaries" and that the membership includes veterans and non-veterans, corporate executives and coal miners, the young and the old.

Read these first-hand accounts of Patriot Guard rides:

Patriot Guard Ride for LT Garrison Avery

Honoring PFC Hasenauer at Soldiers' Angels New York

Visit the Patriot Guard Riders website

Our Canadian Friends Stand With Us Again To Show Support During Cindy's Protest

From Candace at the Canadian blog Waking Up On Planet X:

Soldiers Angels Germany

Many of you will remember the American-based organization Soldier's Angels stepping up to the plate to support our Canadian heroes as they were treated in Germany.

Well, it's payback time. The mother of all nightmares, Cindy Sheehan is planning a protest outside the hospital in Germany where American GIs (and, when necessary, Canadians) are stabilized for the return home.

A commenter suggested a flurry of emails & get-well cards for the heroes, ideally timed to arrive right around the time Cindy settles in to stir it up.

I invite you to click not just on the story link, but on the "write patients" link on the sidebar to get details.

Thanks, Candace.

CTV.ca published an update on the three soldiers on Saturday. Cpl. Bailey, the most seriously injured is still in critical condition but is now expected to survive, while Master Cpl. Franklin has had his second leg amputated below the knee. Pte. Salikin was released from the hospital last Thursday. We wish them all the best for a speedy recovery.

26 February 2006

Cindy Welcome Party Update

From today's Stars & Stripes:

Counterprotests in works for Sheehan's Germany protests

By Steve Mraz, Stars and Stripes
Mideast edition, Sunday, February 26, 2006

RAMSTEIN, Germany — Efforts are under way to stage a counterprotest to Cindy Sheehan’s planned March 11 demonstration outside Landstuhl Regional Medical Center and Ramstein Air Base.

Sheehan, who is the mother of a soldier killed in Iraq and who protested the war last summer outside President Bush’s Texas ranch, is scheduled to participate in a daylong war protest.

Stefan Prystawik, a German writer in Bonn, is working to stage a counterprotest. On his Web site, at www.stefan-prystawik.de, Prystawik characterizes Sheehan as “the great-great grandmother of all Bush haters.”

Sheehan’s planned protest is highly inappropriate, and her complaints are “very much an internal U.S. matter,” Prystawik said.

“First of all, it’s completely inappropriate to instrumentalize the troops here particularly, and above all, those who have suffered severe injuries and are at the hospital,” he said. “They are coming here with an attitude to deliberately demoralize troops who just got back or are going to go back [to Iraq].”

Read the rest here.

Developing, more to follow.

For regularly updated information on the welcome party in German and English see stefan-prystawik.de (scroll down for English).

Also check for updates in English at David's Medienkritik and right here at Soldiers' Angels Germany.

To receive information by email click here.

Patriot Guard Ride for LT Garrison Avery

From our friends Ingrid and Tony. Ingrid is a Soldiers' Angel and Tony returned from his deployment to Iraq last year.

We got up at 5 this morning, to get ready and on the road to meet up with our convoy to head to Nebraska --- The temperature at the bank on the highway said 27 degrees, but with the 40 mile per hour winds, it actually felt like about 10.

With at least another hour to go before the sun formally came up, we met with other riders and hopped on the highway. We crossed the Nebraska line when the sun was finally coming up, and by this time, we had a total of 6 bikes.

We all had the same mission - to get to the church and support Lt Avery's family.

The wind was cutting like razors through the riders' hands and faces -- they were all bundled up plenty, but the wind was inescapable. Eventually, Tony & I took the lead, to offer a windshield for the riders, which they gratefully accepted.

We finally pulled into Lincoln, and met at our rendezvous point. Coming around the corner, I was amazed at the number of motorcycles I was seeing, KNOWING, that there were 2 other staging areas for riders coming from other states. After milling around for a few while the riders went inside the coffee shop we met at to warm up a bit, we had a short briefing, a prayer, and then we saddled up and headed out.

People came out of the coffee shop, some in tears, I guess because not only the number of soldiers currently fighting in the war, but the show of support by the riders -- was pretty overwhelming -- I know there were points when I myself was a little choked up, hearing those rumbling engines, all ahead of me, their flags flying proudly behind them, no matter how cold it was, knowing that ALL of these guys have cars, and yet, they chose to brave 20 degree temperatures and a horrid wind coming out of the north while we were heading north -- you see the commitment and dedication that goes into honoring our fallen.

Continue reading Patriot Guard Ride for LT Garrison Avery...

24 February 2006

Supporting Denmark and Freedom of Speech in Washington DC

Photo from today's Support Denmark gathering in Washington DC, brainchild of Christopher Hitchens:


See more at Instapundit here and here, and Vital Perspective here.

The Political Pit Bull was there and has lots of great photos, too.

Video of Hitchens' remarks (must-see!) at (where else?) Expose the Left.

The complete roundup at Michelle Malkin, including a subsequent post on how the Jyllands-Posten has received a journalism award.

Update: Glad I checked David's Medienkritik before turning in - Ray was there and has LOTS of photos.


Your Freedom of Speech Under Cyber Attack - Part 2


From The Intellectual Activist via Cox & Forkum:

The central issue of the "cartoon jihad" -- the Muslim riots and death threats against a Danish newspaper that printed 12 cartoons depicting Mohammed -- is obvious. The issue is freedom of speech: whether our freedom to think, write, and draw is to be subjugated to the "religious sensitivities" of anyone who threatens us with force.

That is why it is necessary for every newspaper and magazine to re-publish those cartoons, as I will do in the next print issue of The Intellectual Activist.

That's why we're posting one of them here.


Go to Michelle Malkin to see the rest of them.

And that's why we also urge you to support Denmark. Some great ideas on how to do so at David's Medienkritik.


And this is, of course, another reason why we support our troops.

23 February 2006

Your Freedom of Speech Under Cyber Attack

Just in case you thought the War on Terror was only being fought in the Middle East and Southwest Asia, think again. Now you're not supposed to read what people like Michelle Malkin have to say on their blogs. See, it's offensive to... certain people.

Today's only post on Michelle's blog so far:

Dear readers:

Yes, I know the site has been down all morning.

Yes, I've contacted the FBI.

I will try to get back to work, but this has been a bit of a distraction.

Thanks for sticking with me.


Afternoon update: Confirmed DoS [Denial of Service] attack, with most of the IP addresses belonging to TurkTelecom.

From a later post at Pajamas Media:

After receiving several threats and experiencing one denial of service attack upon appearing on Fox News Channel to display the Mohammed Cartoons, my site went down again this morning at approx. 9am EST and remains down.

Check back at Pajamas Media for further posts from Michelle.

And because we're a military support blog, we'd like you to grok on this statement for a moment:

"If anybody is wondering: Where are the young idealists? Where are the people willing to devote themselves to causes larger than themselves?

They are in uniform in Iraq, straddling the divide between insanity and order."

- David Brooks

Update: Michelle's back. For now.

Ack! She's Coming Here!

* * * scroll down for updates * * *

Household6 at Patiently Waiting has just pointed me to this Stripes article about a planned Cindy Sheehan protest at Landstuhl on 11 March.

More information on counter protest activities to follow.

Cindy's goals:

“Cindy will be with us at Camp Casey Landstuhl/Ramstein to call attention to the fact that Germany is Europe’s logistical hub for the wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and others threatening Iran and the Middle East,” according to an event flier. “Germany has the power to stop the further use of U.S. bases in Germany for illegal wars and criminal methods of warfare — the power and the right to just say no!”
( ... )
Sheehan’s goals are to bring the troops home and have peace on earth, she said in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes.

The role of the EU:

Beginning March 9, Sheehan’s European visit will take her to Frankfurt, Aachen, Landstuhl and Ramstein in Germany. On March 13, Sheehan is scheduled to have a news conference in Paris, and the following day will address the European Union parliament in Strasbourg, France.

A protest organizer in Landstuhl said he was asked by others, including some of the 732 members of the European Union parliament, to arrange the protest involving Sheehan.

“The meeting with Cindy Sheehan is coming to us by an offer of members of the European Union in Strasbourg,” said Detlev Besier, a Protestant reverend in Landstuhl. “They asked whether it was possible or not to visit Ramstein Air Base and the hospital. It was not our idea. We were asked whether it was possible or not.”

What the soldiers think:

When asked for comment Wednesday on Sheehan’s upcoming visit, several soldiers in Kaiserslautern asked if they could be quoted anonymously.

One soldier, who recently returned from Iraq, did give his name but didn’t have much to say about Sheehan.

“Anything I would have to say about her, you couldn’t print,” Army Staff Sgt. Mark Genthner said.

More at Iraq War Today.
Greyhawk with The Circus Is Coming To Town.
Sheehag Takes Anti-War Crap to Germany from The Gunn Nutt.
Blackfive: Cindy Sheehan wants our wounded to die.

Update 2: I've had some informative email and telephone conversations with others in Germany since posting this. Check back for updates, and email me if you'd like to participate in the welcome party.

Update 3: For regularly updated information on the welcome party in German and English see stefan-prystawik.de (scroll down for English).

Also check for updates in English at David's Medienkritik and right here at Soldiers' Angels Germany.

To receive information by email, join the Counter Sheehan in Germany mailing list by clicking here.

22 February 2006

Joshua Sparling Update

Landry Fan has it here, with new photos (Josh looks great!) and a link to the newest Sean Hannity interview.

21 February 2006

Soldiers' Angels Mourns LCpl Nicholas Sovie


From Cathy of the Soldiers' Angels Living Legends Team:

We have a fallen SA hero, Nicholas Sovie. His mother is part of Soldiers' Angels.

Lance Cpl Nicholas Sovie, 20, was killed 02/17/06, when two CH-53 helicopters crashed into the Gulf of Aden in the vicinity of Ras Siyyan, northern Djibouti, while flying a training mission in the Godoria Range area.

Thank you for supporting a fellow Angel and the family of our fallen hero.

Angel Hugs,

If you are a registered Soldiers' Angel and would like to send Nicholas' parents a card, please email me.

Marine Lance Cpl. Nicholas J. Sovie tribute at the Soldiers' Angels Fallen Heroes blog.

20 February 2006

Vets for Freedom

Laurie at Soldiers' Angels New York has an excellent post up about an organization called Vets for Freedom.

An excerpt from their Mission Statement:

The Global War on Terror is being fought on two fronts. Our troops are performing magnificently in Iraq fighting a tough and dirty enemy. We are winning in Iraq through a combined military, political, diplomatic and economic effort . However, we are losing the war for the will of the American public to see this conflict through because of the distorted means by which it is too often portrayed.

Inaccurate or politically inflamed media reports and policymaker statements based on rumor, speculation and even nonexistent events place an almost singular focus on negative aspects of the conflict versus any attention to many successes that take place almost daily. Those of us from the frontline have a much different view, but for reasons beyond our understanding, our perspective has been largely ignored. Vets for Freedom seeks to change this environment, providing viewpoints both positive and negative on what will be needed to achieve victory.

The Iraq and Afghanistan Wars have been difficult, dangerous endeavors. But we are literally in the process of changing the world, which, as we know, is not an easy task. I am a firm believer that it is America’s duty to itself and its obligation to the world to fight terror and advance democracy across the globe. I fought in the Iraq War and I saw firsthand the horrors and atrocities of a war against an evil enemy. I am determined to win this war. However, we cannot win this war without your support. I hope you will join me and thousands of other veterans as we continue to fight for the cause of freedom. To be successful, veterans and their supporters must now fight the second front of this war. We must win the American people to win in Iraq.

Read Laurie's entire post (and follow the links), and make sure to visit the Vets for Freedom website.

17 February 2006

Friday Links

Pam at Iraq War Today has a great story about Sew Much Comfort, a "global sewing circle" making adaptive clothing for recovering wounded soldiers.

In today's Dawn Patrol Mrs. G points us to a Michael Totten piece about Iraqi Kurdistan called "This Is Your Country".

Iraqi Kurdistan is more pro-American than America. People there refer to George W. Bush as “Hajji Bush” (meaning he made the Muslim pilgrimage, the hajj, to Mecca), an incredibly high honor for a Christian from Texas whom most people hate. Bill Clinton may have been America’s first “black” president. But people in at least one part of the world say Bush is the first “Muslim” president. Weird and amazing, but true.

And if you haven't seen it yet, the National Review Online asked some bloggers and writers to write a tribute to the number one woman they love - the catch being they could not name their wives or mothers.

Matt at Blackfive contributed this:

This Valentine's Day message is about a different kind of love story. It's about a woman named Patti Patton-Bader, who started an organization called Soldiers' Angels...

You should also check out Blackfive's New Abu Ghraib Photos.

U.S. Donates Last MASH To Pakistan

U.S. Col. Angel Lugo, right, commandant of the 212 Mobile Surgical Army Hospital (MASH), gives an appreciation certificate to Pakistani doctors, Talat, second from left, and Arjumand, during a ceremony to handover of MASH set up for quake victims in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir, Thursday, Feb. 16, 2006. The U.S. Army said goodbye to its last MASH, handing over the green tents, emergency room and surgical tables to Pakistani doctors and nurses who had never seen the hit TV show that made the field hospital famous. (AP Photo/Roshan Mughal)

From an AP Story at Yahoo News

For the past four months, the 212th MASH — or Mobile Army Surgical Hospital — has been stationed in a mountain valley in northern Pakistan treating survivors of the Oct. 8 earthquake that killed more than 80,000 people.

The military decided to donate the MASH — worth $4.6 million — to Pakistan because the Army is switching to a new approach, called "combat support hospital." The new system is more flexible, with surgical squads that can go out into the field instead of waiting for patients to be flown in.

Surrounded by snow-covered peaks, the Army said farewell to the MASH in a brief, simple ceremony with a Pakistani army band in maroon jackets and gold-trimmed hats playing marching tunes — not "Suicide is Painless," the TV show's theme song.

"We are very proud of the MASH's service to the people of Pakistan and extremely happy the MASH will be continuing its mission in capable hands," said Army Col. Angel Lugo, MASH force commander.

Pakistan army surgeon general, Lt. Gen. Syed Afzal Ahmad, said that the local staff have been working closely with the Americans during the quake mission and were ready to take over the MASH unit, which first saw action in St. Mihiel, France, during World War I.

"We are very thankful to the U.S. government and will remain thankful forever," he said.

U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker said the MASH and other quake aid "caused tens of thousands of Pakistanis up in this area to change their view of America."


TV's "Hawkeye" Alan Alda salutes end of real MASH

16 February 2006

Stats From Recent Visit to Landstuhl and Kleber

Backpacks and Duffel Bags

118 First Response Backpacks were provided to the Chaplains office, DWMMC, and 101st Liaison at Landstuhl and the outpatient barracks at Kleber.


About 30 empty backpacks and duffel bags were distributed to the Chaplains office at Landstuhl and outpatient barracks at Kleber. The patients often need these for the trip back home.

Valentine's Day Stuff

We prepared 3 boxes of candy and cards for the outpatient barracks at Ramstein Inn and Fisher House...


...and 8 folders with hundreds of Valentine's Day Greetings From Home were collected from Angels and placed at Kleber outpatient barracks, Ramstein Inn outpatient barracks, Fisher House, and the wards at Landstuhl Hospital.


We also had baskets of candy for the outpatients at Kleber barracks.


Hand and Foot Warmers for Landstuhl Hospital Intensive Care

Over 200 hand and foot warmers were brought to the ICU for the critical patients' medevac flight home.


Soldiers' Angels Germany Storage Room

And last but not least, everything in the Soldiers' Angels work/storage room at Kleber needed to be packed up for storage due to upcoming renovations.



As always, THANK YOU Angels and Friends for your support. We couldn't do any of this without you!

15 February 2006

20,000+ !!!

In January, the Library of Life, in collaboration with Soldiers' Angels, mounted an Guiness Book of Records attempt to create the largest digital Valentine's Day card with messages to our deployed troops.


As of this morning GMT, the digital Valentine's Day card Operation: Love our Troops has over 20,000 messages of love and support!

The current record for the largest print Valentine had over 5000 signatures.

HOOAH!! and thanks to all who participated!

14 February 2006

Happy Valentine's Day!



Valentine's Day decorations and candy at Kleber outpatient barracks near Landstuhl Hospital.

One hundred outpatients can eat a LOT of candy ;-) Despite best efforts to keep the baskets full, it was nearly impossible to keep up.

Related: As of this morning GMT, there are currently over 18,000 messages on the digital Valentine's Day card for out troops!

Update 2: According to Pam at Iraq War Today, we're now up to over 19,000!! It's not too late, so go send one now!

13 February 2006

"Midwest Heroes"

John Hinderaker of Powerline linked yesterday to a great video from Progress For America called Midwest Heroes.

The brief video, which you may have seen as a television ad during the Olympics, features three Iraq War Veterans talking about why we're there:

You'd never know it from the news reports, but our enemy in Iraq is al Qaeda - the same terrorists who killed three thousand Americans on 9/11, the same terrorists from the first World Trade Center bombing, the USS Cole, Madrid, London, and many more.

For a glimpse into the by now familiar and tiresome parallel universe which exists in some minds, read John's entire article on the smear job being done on this video by Minneapolis Star Tribune columnist Nick Coleman.

h/t Instapundit.

11 February 2006

Soldiers' Angels Provides Hand/Foot Warmers to Landstuhl ICU

"I knitted for our boys during WWII, and I can do it for them now, too."

Last December Soldiers' Angels started a project to keep the extremeties of critically wounded patients warm during medevac flights back to the US.


ICU patients are often unconscious and on IVs which lowers body temperature, so keeping them warm is important. And due to large dressings and arterial lines, it was difficult to find a commercially available product for this need.

Soldiers' Angels Sharon and Cynthia in the US created the first prototypes which were brought by Soldiers' Angels Germany to the hospital staff. Some modifications were made before a volunteer team of over 60 groups and individuals started production.


Last week Soldiers' Angels Germany delivered the largest shipment to date - over 200 pairs of fleece hand and foot warmers.

On behalf of Soldiers' Angels and our wounded soliders, we would like to thank all of the wonderful people who have participated in this project. They include veterans providing fleece donations, Cub Scouts, church groups, and many, many individuals, including an 82-year old who said, "I knitted for our boys during WWII, and I can do it for them now, too."

If you can knit or sew and would like to help with this or other Soldiers' Angels patient projects, please email me.

Soldiers' Angels Mourns SSG Christopher Morningstar


From Cathy of the Soldiers' Angels Living Legends Team:

We have a fallen soldier that was from Soldiers' Angels, Christopher Morningstar.

Staff Sgt. Christopher Morningstar, 27, was killed in action in Al Husayniyah, Iraq on February 05, 2006, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his Stryker Engineer Squad Vehicle.

He was assigned to the 562nd Engineers Company, 172nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, Fort Wainwright, Alaska.

He is survived by his mother, Holly Morningstar, of San Antonio, Texas.

Thank you for supporting the families of our fallen heroes. If you would like to send a card to his Angels, please contact me at CWTreefrog at aol.com for the information.

Angel Hugs,

Army Staff Sgt. Christopher R. Morningstar tribute at the Soldiers' Angels Fallen Heroes blog.

03 February 2006

Photo of the Day - Go Steelers!

Marine with the Steelers Fan Club of Western Iraq.

Matt at Blackfive has some great videos of troops cheering their teams on.

And make sure to read Cpt B's Superbowl post.

CPT Z's Version of the WaPo Cartoon

But before you go look at it, CPT Z wants to make clear that:

I truly feel for Mssrs. Woodruff and Vogt. And even moreso for their families. This doesn't poke fun at them, but at the bloodthirsty editors who use the suffering of others to sell papers.

Rock on, Chuck.

Airlifting Wounded Warriors

BALAD AIR BASE, Iraq (AFPN) -- An Army air evacuation Blackhawk Helicopter UH-60 is met by Air Force and Army medics at the Air Force Theater Hospital here Jan. 29. The hospital provides Level 1 trauma and specialized medical care throughout the Iraqi theater. Some of their specialties include neurosurgery, orthopedics, oral maxillofacial and vascular medicine. - U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Lance Cheung.

The business of saving lives: airlifting wounded warriors

Their mission was simple -- save lives by safely moving patients to appropriate medical facilities. Nine patients were logged into the aeromedical evacuation system for pick-up -- five ambulatory and four on litters. But the crew knew it could change. ( ... )

By 9 a.m., the crew had logged its equipment into the computer system. Using a barcode scanning system, the medics tracked every piece of equipment going on the plane. Within an hour, they were uploading cardiac monitors, intravenous bags and other equipment and supplies, along with their flak vests and Kevlar helmets, onto the C-130 Hercules from Dyess AFB, Texas. ( ... )

The first stop was Ali Base in Iraq. Throughout the flight, the medics read, joked around and rested for the long day ahead. The mood was jovial as the team got to know each other; three were on their first flight into Iraq, with only two seasoned veterans on this run.

Within 20 minutes of landing, however, the tone changed. The plane became strangely quiet as everyone donned their body armor. ( ... )

Once on the ground, the crew moved quickly. Patients were carefully lifted onto the aircraft, with litters tightly secured in place.

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Medical personnel and aircrew members carry a patient from a Minnesota Air National Guard C-130 to a Pope Air Force Base, N.C., C-130 for transport to Baghdad Jan. 28. The critical care team is the equivalent of a flying intensive care unit. - U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham.

As predicted by Sergeant Burris, the patient numbers were already changing. The medics loaded three litter patients onto the plane. One Soldier had survived an improvised explosive device attack that destroyed his vehicle. Another was recovering from emergency bowel surgery and a third was going in for magnetic resonance imaging for a knee injury. ( ... )

The sun fell just below the horizon as the medical team arrived at Balad Air Base, Iraq. Everyone, including patients, exited the plane while it was refueled. Once again, the medical team loaded injured and sick Soldiers onto the plane. A few more litter patients were carefully loaded; one needed oxygen. Captain Shamburger monitored the patient’s oxygen levels throughout the flight, frequently checking his pulse and blood pressure.

SOUTHWEST ASIA -- Capt. (Dr.) Erik von Rosenvinge, a 379th Aeromedical Squadron critical care air transport physician, conducts an initial assessment of his patient before the C-130 cargo aircraft departs for Baghdad Jan. 28. - U.S. Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Bob Oldham.

By the time the C-130 flew out of Balad with 55 “souls on board,” the full moon illuminated the glowing monitors on the flight deck. The aircrew donned night vision goggles and flew in total darkness to avoid hostile fire from the ground. The aircraft made one more stop that night before heading back to home base.

By the end of the mission, more than 13 patients and 41 passengers had been safely moved.

But the night wasn’t over. The crew unloaded their last patients, downloaded their supplies, inventoried their flight kits in the warehouse and filed post-flight paperwork. Back at the coalition compound, the medics grabbed a late-night dinner in the dining facility. Their heads finally hit their pillows close to 2 a.m.

01 February 2006

Living in a Parallel Universe

Clark Says Soldiers Are “Kicking Down the Doors” and “Roughing Up the Women” in Iraq, video at Expose the Left.
CLARK: Well, you know, we’re not going to go down, I’ve hope that we’ve gotten over this kicking down the doors and roughing up the women that some people said that we did some of over there.

Yeah, this kid looks terrified.

It Wasn't Real - Until Now!

From GM Roper:

"This Makes It Real"

Excuse me? The wounding of an American newsman makes it real? So much for the two thousand plus American troops who have given their lives, so much for the thousands of Iraqi's murdered by Al Qaeda and their fellow travelors. That wasn't "REAL." But this is!

Funny how that works for some people, isn't it?


From the Media Blog at NRO via Mudville Gazette's Dawn Patrol.

The downside, of course, is that the usual suspects have used the incident to declare Iraq a disaster (again). This time it was CNN's Christiane Amanpour:

The war in Iraq has basically turned out to be a disaster and journalists have paid for it, paid for the privilege of witnessing and reporting that and so have many, many other people who have been there.